Reynolds' adjustments earn more playing time

Rockies first baseman hitting fewer homers, making contact

Reynolds' adjustments earn more playing time

SAN FRANCISCO -- As much fun as Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds has hitting home runs, he likes getting to play even more. So far, controlling his swing has led to more hits, which has led to consistent playing time.

Reynolds entered Sunday's game against the Giants (he did not start) with a .333 batting average -- 101 points above his career number -- with eight doubles and two home runs. He also had a .396 on-base percentage, well above his .325 career mark. Reynolds' history has been one with high homers (44 in 2009) and high strikeouts (he's led his league four times). He entered Sunday with 28 strikeouts, but he has made more contact and had more success with it.

His teammate, Trevor Story, and Detroit's Justin Upton, led the league with 45 strikeouts going into Sunday.

After playing part-time for the Cardinals last year, Reynolds signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal with Rockies that gave him the opportunity to earn starts.

"In my situation, where you've got to perform to play, you try to put yourself in the most consistent situations to succeed," Reynolds said. "Going up there and trying to yank a ball over the fence all the time is OK, I guess, if you're an everyday guy and you're going to be in there no matter what. When you're fighting for playing time you've got to give yourself the best chance to get hits. If that's taking pitches to right field, that's what you've got to do.

"I want more hore home runs, but what are you going to do? My swing is in a good spot right now and I'm not going to change it."

Last season with the Cardinals, when playing time didn't come until some injuries hit, Reynolds learned from hitting coach John Mabry (a solid Major League pinch-hitter who once played for the Rockies) how to keep the barrel of the bat in the strike zone longer to promote consistent contact.

"We saw it right away in Spring Training," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Especially with runners in scoring position, he was shooting the ball to the big part of the field, shooting the ball the other way. He made a conscious effort last year, or even maybe earlier than that, to take that type of approach."

Injury updates

Utility infielder Daniel Descalso, who suffered a left hand fracture during Spring Training, will begin an injury rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Albuquerque. He will join lefty pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (left groin strain), who begins his rehab assignment Monday. … Righty Jason Motte, out with a right shoulder strain, will face hitters Monday at Coors Field, and could begin his rehab assignment shortly thereafter. … Righty Miguel Castro, who had a 1.50 ERA before suffering right shoulder inflammation, will appear in an extended spring training game Tuesday, and the Rockies will decide from there when his rehab assignment will begin. … Lefty Tyler Matzek, on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder, retired the only batter he faced in an extended spring game on Saturday in Scottsdale. He'll pitch again Monday.

 

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.